Down up for action-packed weekend
Published 15/04/2008 | 08:07
Down fans will be spoiled for choice this weekend with both seniors and under-21s in action.
The under-21s, managed by Peter McGrath, who led the Mourne county to All Ireland senior success in both 1991 and 1994, looked the part in lifting the provincial title, their final showdown against old rivals Derry illustrating all that is best in the sport with none of the cynicism so prevalent at senior level.
The under-21s, backboned by the nucleus of the 2005 All Ireland minor winning side, face Kildare in Navan on Saturday (5pm) and look well enough equipped to make it to the decider, providing they can reproduce their form they displayed against Derry.
Manager McGrath was especially pleased with the manner in which they were able to bounce back in that game every time the opposition threatened to take control.
Goals win matches and the irrepressible Paul McComiskey again looked a class apart, finishing up with a goal and four points and will in all probability find himself lining out with the senior team against Fermanagh in Newry 24 hours later.
It's a crucial match for Down for, after losing to Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon ten days ago, they must beat unbeaten Fermanagh and hope that Louth can travel to Wexford and beat the home team so offering the Mourne man a promotion lifeline.
To keep on course they had to beat Limerick in Newry and they achieved that with something to spare, a penalty tucked away Aidan Carr settling early nerves.
"The penalty was important as it offered us some much needed breathing space and settled us. We were then able to play some decent football in that opening 35 minutes," said Ross Carr.
"We were more disappointed than anyone else the way the game panned out against Leitrim.
"But at least we had another game within the week and we worked exceptionally hard during the week at rectifying certain aspects of our game.
"We travelled to Carrick-on Shannon hoping to win and expecting to win only to leave ourselves with too much to do in the second half."